The California Independent Funny Car Association (CIFCA) is a west coast drag racing association that specializes in affordable funny car shows. The membership currently consists of over 3 dozen funny car teams in 7 western states and Canada. There is also a general membership program for fans and race enthusiasts. The majority of the funny cars are powered by supercharged. alcohol engines. The variety in body styles makes them vary popular with a large array of fans. Heavy emphasis is placed on side-by-side burnouts, reliability and showmanship.
The members compete for points, cash and contingencies. They also take great pride in their operations, which is evident by their participation in the numerous car shows. Trade conventions and promotions. A funny car designed to compete on the CIFCA circuit requires only moderate maintenance once at the racetrack. Engines will usually last a complete season between teardowns. Approximately 1200 horsepower is necessary for a 2000-pound funny car to able to run mid seven-second elapsed times in the quarter mile. Consistency is the name of the game.
The CIFCA was originated in 1984 as the California Injected Funny Car Association. It consisted of several econo funnies that would compete in 2-4 car match races at Los Angeles County Raceway and Firebird International Raceway. Among the originals were Jim McClure’s "Mirage" Mustang, Gene Addison’s Vega, and Virgil Hartman’s "Running Wild" Corvette.
Virgil Hartman was elected president in 1985 & 1986. His son Richard won the championship both years. The association competed on a 7.90 index and the membership grew to 16 teams. The foundation was set.
David Rankin was elected president in 1987 and 1988. He also was the championship during his both of his terms. Superchargers were voted in during 1988. Tony Rishton was the first to run a blower though Rankin enjoyed numerous successes in his blown BBC Arrow. The membership increased to 18 teams.
In 1989, Jim Maher was elected president which he held for 20 years. Highlights of 1989 include: Origination of Injection Connection, a quarterly race tabloid published on behalf of the CIFCA; the association’s name was changed from "Injected" to "Independent"; Robert "Bob" Joy won the championship over Pete Mark.
In 1990, CIFCA’s contingency program was formed which now boast annual postings over $40,000. CIFCA’s Youth Program was also formed that year. This program assists youngsters seeking to explore opportunities in the motorsports industry. CIFCA teams take youngsters with them to the races and allow them to be a crewmember, performing duties as such packing parachutes, engine maintenance, and assisting on the starting line. Dave Hix won the Championship over Pete Mark.
In 1991 the index was reduced to a 7.75 and the membership reached 32 teams. Jim Maher of Whittier, CA won his first championship over Dave Hix.
Several changes were made for the 1992 season. The index was lowered to a 7.50 and a Burnout Contest was added. The Burnout Contest is conducted during qualifying and is judged by the spectators and track announcer. This program add value to the overall show. Jim Maher’s Good Vibrations Corvette dominated the 1992 season winning 7 out of 10 races. His Whittier based team successfully defended their 1991 title. Tony Rishton of Ontario, California finished second in his Family IROC Z.
1993 opened a new chapter for CIFCA with racing Mexico. The schedule consisted of 4 & 8 car shows with dragstrips in Mexicali. Tecate, and Aqua Prieta, along with over 12 races in the United States. CIFCA is now firmly established as an affordable and reliable funny car show to West Coast promoters. Maher's Good Vibrations Corvette clinched his third consecutive championship followed closely by Steve Tryon of Phoenix, AZ.
During 1994, the CIFCA experienced a growth spurt. The teams now number over 40 and the racing has become very close. Media exposure is becoming commonplace after most events. Publicity ranges from printed results to coverage in professional commercial videos. The CIFCA funny cars are now the featured act at over 95% of their races. The teams are known as professional showmen. Mike Hilsabeck of Phoenix, Arizona won his first CIFCA championship edging out Jim Maher.
The 1995 season was aggressive. With 13 series races and several match races, the teams were very busy. Sponsor support and opportunity also hit an all-time high. Rookie Jeff Seraphine won the points championship over Mike Hilsabeck. Publicity and exposure continued to grow as the association wrapped up its 11th season.
1996 was similiar to the previous season. A very smooth and successful year. Mike Hilsabeck won his 2nd championship over Tony Rishton.
Ditto for 1997. Mike Hilsabeck wins 3rd championship over Jim Maher.
1998 Mike Hilsabeck continued his dominance winning an unprecedented 4th Championship over Jim Maher.
1999 marked CIFCA's 15th season. Many new faces were appearing on the scene and wrecking havoc on the veterans. Robert Lee won the Championship Title in just his second year over veteran Mike Hilsabeck.
CIFCA entered the new millennium on a roll. The highest percentage of teams (30 out of 44) actually made it to the racetrack during the 2000 season. The ladder at the majority of the races was increased from an 8-car show to a 16-car. The competition was very fierce with the championship title coming down to the very last round of the year! Jim Broome won the title with Mike Savage at the wheel. Mike Hilsabeck and Steve Tyron finished a very close second and third, respectively.
2001 - Jim Maher 4th Championship tying Mike Hilsabeck with 4 Championships each.
2002 - Adam Sorokin wins his first CIFCA Championship over Dennis La Charite.
2003 - Jim Maher 5th Championship moving ahead of Mike Hilsabeck's 4 Championships.
2004 - Dennis La Charite wins his first championship. CIFCA reached it's peek in 2004! Jim Maher decided to step down to focus more on Good Vibrations Motorsports, and spending time win his family. Selling his CIFCA Funny Car, his Tractor Trailer, and stepping down as President.
Passing the Torch
2005 - Jim Maher steps down after 20 years! He passes the torch on to Jamie Leppanen.
2006 - Pete "Paul" Peterson won his first CIFCA Championship
2007 - Pete "Paul" Peterson won his second CIFCA Championship
2008 - Will Martin wins his first CIFCA Championship.
2009 - Will Martin wins his second CIFCA Championship.
2010 - Jamie Leppanen steps down as CIFCA President and Joe Powell takes over with "PAFCA" (Long Story)
- Eric Gates (CIFCA / PAFCA) wins his first CIFCA Championship
CIFCA goes to sleep for a while waiting for some one to take over 2011, 2012, 2013...
CIFCA Turns 30!
2014 - James Maher steps up and puts on a CIFCA Reunion Race. "Diego called me in 2013 and asked me if I could put on a CIFCA race up at Sac. I told him I'd think about it. I thought long and hard about it. Around the end of 2013 I called Dave Smith and asked him if we could have a CIFCA race at Sac in 2014. I shot him over a proposal and after some negotiating we came up with a fair number. Then I went on a hunt to find as many CIFCA guys as I could. I started from pretty much scratch. I was luck to find the old CIFCA rule book and the old CIFCA site from 2004! I decided to start there and try to leave off right where my father ended. After months of prep work we had our 30th Anniversary Reunion Race! We have 9 Funny Cars come out to play! Robert "Bob" Joy, 1989 CIFCA Champion, came down from Washington to put his car out on display! Mike Troxel won the event over Dan Whiteman.
2015 - 5 races this year. 2 at Sacramento Raceway - 2 at Southwestern International Raceway (Now Tucson Dragway) - 1 at Top Gun Racway (Fallon, NV). The 2015 CIFCA Champion, Tony Trimp in the Rough-N-Ready Team, took home two wins this season. One at the Funny Car Fever and the other at Octane Fest and they also had a runner up finish at the Governor's Cup. Ron Ward had two wins this season as well taking the Super Chevy Show and the Governor's Cup as he finished 2nd in the CIFCA Championship. Andy Mears who took home 3rd had two Runner Ups and an Semi-Final finish. Troxel finished 4th and Sanguino 5th. It was a great season! Thank you to all 19 teams who particpated this year. We are looking for an even bigger year in 2015!
2016 - We had 2 races. Both at Sacramento Raceway Park. The first one was at the Funny Car where Mike Troxel beat Shaun Bryan in the final. The 2nd race was at the Governor’s Cup. 8 Cars Shows competed for the Governor’s Cup Trophy. Kevin Sarginson beat Darrin Hamby in the final. No Champion this year.
2017 - 5 Races. Kicking off the season at Sacramento Raceway Park’s Funny Car Fever - Tony Trimp took the win over Mike Troxel. 2nd Race was at Top Gun Raceway where Tony Trimp defeated Jim Currie. 3rd Race was at Sacramento’s Nite of Fire. Mike Troxel defeated James Maher in the final. Race #4 was for the Governor’s Cup at Sacramento Raceway. Trimp defeated Darrin Hamby in the final. The last race of the season was a Tucson Dragway. Tony Trimp defeated Jim Maroney in the final. Tony Trimp driving for the Rough-N-Ready Racing Team put a dominate performance winning 4 of 5 races won their 2nd CIFCA Championship. 2nd Place James Maher, 3rd Mike Troxel, 4th Jim Currie & Darrin Hamby finished off the top 5 presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports.
2018 - 5 Races - First Race of the season kicked off at the Funny Car Fever as usual. Tony Trimp defending CIFCA Champion defeated James Maher in the final around. 2nd Race was the Nite of Fire where James Maher defeated newcomer Johnny Kirschenman in the final. 3rd Race was at Samoa Dragstrip where Mike Troxel defeated Tony Trimp in the final. 4th Race was at Redding Dragstrip where Tony Trimp defeated James Maher. Last but not least was the Governor's Cup. Maher & Trimp were tied for points going into the event. Maher defeated Trimp in the final to clinch his first CIFCA Championship. 2nd Place Tony Trimp, 3rd Place Mike Troxel, 4th Place Johnny Kirschenman & Pete Ortriz Jr rounded out the Top 5 CIFCA Points presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports!
2019 - 6 Races! The season opener was at the Funny Car Fever where Tony Trimp defeated Mike Troxel in the final. Trimp drives for Harvey Williams (points always go to the team owner) 2nd Race was the Nite of Fire where Trimp defeated James Maher in the final. 3rd Race was at Samoa Dragstrip where Maher defeated newcomer Rick Alvarado. 4th Race was Redding Dragstrip where James Maher defeated Chris Bates (driving for Harvey Williams) 5th Race was at Medford Dragstrip where Chris Bates defeated Rick Alvarado. 6th Race was at the Governor’s Cup Where... to be continued